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other products. Every part of the world has some commodities which it can produce better than other countries, and if men and governments were wise, they would allow trade to be as free as possible, in order that each thing shall be produced where it costs the least labour to produce it.
23. Work in the Best Manner. Whatever the kind of industry carried on in a place, we ought to take care, thirdly, that each labourer works in the best manner, so as not to waste his labour or to make mistakes. There are many different ways of setting about the same work, and, in order that he may choose the best, the labourer must be intelligent and skilful, or else he must be directed by some person who has knowledge and skill. Moreover, there must be, as we shall see, great division of labour, so that each man shall do the kind of work he can do best. We need, then
12) Division of labour. 24. The Need of Science. In order that he may employ his labour to the best advantage, it is requisite that the labourer should be not merely skilful, that is, clever, and practised in handiwork, but that he should also be guided by a scientific knowledge of the things with which he is dealing. Knowledge of nature consists, to a great extent, in understanding the causes of things, that is, in knowing what things must be put together in order that certain other things shall be produced. Thus the steam-engine is due to the discovery that if heat be applied to water, the result is steam expanding with much force, so that a firebox, coal, boiler, and water are causes of force. Whenever we want to do any work, then, we must begin by learning, if possible, what are the causes which will produce it most easily and abundantly. By knowledge we shall often be saved from much needless labour.
As Sir John Herschel has explained, science some
7 all kinds of
times shows us that things which we wish to do are really impossible, as, for instance, to invent a perpetual motion, that is, a machine which moves itself. At other times science teaches us that the way in which we are trying to make something is altogether the wrong way. Thus, iron
masters used to think that the best way of smelting iron in the blast-furnace was to blow the furnace with cold air; science, however, showed that, instead of being cold, the air sent into the furnace should be made as hot as possible. Then, again, science often enables us to do our work with a great saving of labour. The boatman or bargeman takes care to learn the state of the tide, so that he may have the tide in his favour in making any journey. Meteorologists have now prepared maps of the oceans showing the sea-captain where he will find winds and currents most favourable to a rapid voyage. Lastly, science sometimes leads us to discover wonderful things which we should not have otherwise thought it possible to do; it is sufficient to mention the discovery of photography and the invention of the telegraph and the telephone. No doubt it may be said that all the greatest improvements in industry—most of what tends to raise man above the condition of the brute animals—proceed from science. The poet Virgil was right when he said, " Happy is he who knows the causes of things.
DIVISION OF LABOUR. 25. How Division of Labour Arises. When a number of workmen are engaged on any work, we find that each man usually takes one part of the work, and leaves other parts of the work to his mates. People by degrees arrange themselves into different
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trades, so that the whole work done in any place is divided into many employments or crafts. This division of labour is found in all civilised countries, and more or less in all states of society, which are not merely barbarous. In every village there is the butcher and the baker, and the blacksmith and the carpenter. Even in a single family there is division of labour: the husband ploughs, or cuts timber; the wife cooks, manages the house, and spins or weaves; the sons hunt or tend sheep; the daughters employ themselves as milkmaids. There is a popular couplet which says
" When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman ?” It seems to express the fact that this division of labour existed in very early times, before there were any gentlemen.
In modern times the division of labour is immensely complicated : not only has every town and village its different tradespeople, and artisans and men in different posts and employments, but each district has its peculiar manufactures. In one place cotton goods are produced ; in another, woollen goods; in other parts of the country flax, jute, silk are manufactured. Iron is made in Staffordshire, Cleveland, South Wales, and Scotland ; copper is smelted in South Wales ; crockery is baked in the potteries; hosiery is manufactured in Nottingham and Leicester; linens are sewed in the North of Ireland; and so In every separate factory, again, there is division of labour; there is the manager, the chief clerk, the assistant clerks; the foremen of different departments, the timekeeper, the engine-tenter, and stokers, the common labourers, the carters, errand boys, porters, &c., all in addition to the actual mechanics of different kinds and ranks who do the principal work. Thus the division of labour spreads itself throughout the whole of society, from the Queen and her Ministers, down to the errand boy, or the street scavenger.
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26. Adam Smith on the Division of Labour. There are many ways in which we gain by the division of labour, but Adam Smith has treated the subject so excellently that we had better, in the first place, consider his view of the matter. There are, as he thought, three ways in which advantage arises from the division of labour, namely
(1.) Increase of dexterity in every particular work
(2.) Saving of the time which is commonly lost in passing from one kind of work to another.
(3.) The invention of a great number of machines, which facilitate and abridge labour, and enable one man to do the work of many.
There can be no doubt as to the increase of dexterity, which arises from practice. Any one who has tried to imitate a juggler, or to play the piano, without having learned to do it, knows how absurdly he fails. Nobody could possibly do the work of a glass-blower without long practice. Even when a man can do a job in some sort of way, he will do it much more quickly if he does it often. Adam Smith states that if a blacksmith had to make nails without having been accustomed to the work, he would not make above 200 or 300 bad nails in a day. With practice he might learn to make 800 or 1000 nails in a day; but boys who are brought up to the nailer's trade can turn out 2300 nails of the same kind in the same time. But there is no need of many examples : everything that we see well or quickly made has been made by men who have spent a great deal of time and trouble in learning and practising the work.
Secondly, there is a great deal of time lost when a
man changes from one kind of work to another many times in the day. Before you can make a thing you must get all the right tools and materials around
you; when you have finished one box, for instance, you are all ready to make another with less trouble than the
first; but if you have to go off and do something quite different, such as to mend a pair of shoes or write a letter, a different set of implements have to be got ready. A man, as Adam Smith thought, saunters a little in turning his hand from one kind of employment to another, and if this happens frequently, he is likely to become lazy.
In the third place, Smith asserted that the division of labour leads to the invention of machines which abridge labour, because men, he thought, were much more likely to discover easy methods of attaining an object when their whole attention is directed to that object. But it seems doubtful how far this is correct. Workmen do occasionally invent some mode of lessening their labour, and a few important inventions have been made in this way. But, as a general rule, the division of labour leads to invention, because it enabl ingenious men to make invention their profession. The greatest inventors, such as James Watt, Bramah, Fulton, Roberts, Nasmyth, Howe, Fairbairn, Whitworth, the Stephensons, Wheatstone, Bessemer, Siemens, have not been led to invention in the way described by Adam Smith, but have cultivated an original genius by careful study and long practice in mechanical construction. But the division of labour greatly assists invention, because it enables each factory to adopt particular kinds of machinery. In England the division of labour is continually becoming more and more minute, and it is not uncommon to find that the whole supply of some commodity is furnished from a single manufactory, which can then afford to have a set of machines invented on purpose to produce this one commodity. Such is even more the case in the large manufactories of the United States.
I will now describe four other ways in which great saving of labour arises from the division of labour, as follows:
27. The Multiplication of Services. A great
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